Guest Blog: The Principles of Peach

Toby Peach is a theatre maker, and was part of the second cohort of Creative Climate Leaders in October 2017.

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Hello, I became a CCL in 2017 and environmental sustainability has been part of my creative practice since.

Becoming a Creative Climate Leader empowered me to be part of the climate conversation – a conversation I didn’t feel I could join, yet alone a conversation I could start. This empowerment has transformed my practice to look at how sustainability can be part of the independent artists practice as much as the buildings & companies. It began with exploring a sustainability manifesto, to use as an exchange with companies/buildings I was engaging with to start a conversation about my values as an artist and how I believe we can, together, drive towards a more progressive future in the arts. This manifesto started as something quite personal, The Principles of a Peach (to be playfully honest), and now I’m keen to develop it into something that can be developed and morphed into something for others. Empowering independent artists to find their sustainability voice.

One of the main things I have learnt working in this space is how many issues interrelate and how important it is to showcase these for us to have a complete portrait of sustainable future. My manifesto aimed to promote this, as I believe we normally think environmental suitability is just about ‘thinking green’ but the need to promote a wider conversation on items like gender neutralisation, fair pay and an end to racial discrimination is an important part of moving the arts, and the wider world, towards a better future.

My work as an Associate Artist with interactive theatre makers Coney has given me opportunities to create stories that promote environmental sustainability in 2018, in particular allowing me to begin a conversation with audiences about ways that we can engage with the climate debate. Phoebe the Apprentice Ranger was delivered at Polesden Lacey, a National Trust property, which wanted to engage young families in their beautiful grounds and Ancient Woodland. Phoebe was a character that needed the young people’s help, to get a job as a full time Ranger job at Polesden Lacey and impress her boss Lenny. To do this she sent out the audience on chose-your-own-adventure style missions to find spots on the grounds of Polesden Lacey and complete tasks that got young people to connect with nature. Importantly, the project was run with sustainability in mind; design was focused on using only what we had available on site and the story was written to empower female voices. It is this wider practice impact that feels so important to me, as it seeps through every interaction and drives forward my creative practice and in turn influences the way I run projects.

 

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Image:  Phoebe © Eddie Hyde Photography ARPS